'You can't beat' Bobby Flay's Phoenix airport restaurant, one of six newcomers to Terminal 4

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Bobby Flay came to Phoenix to celebrate the grand opening his first Arizona restaurant and first ever airport outpost, which is one of six new restaurants that recently debuted at the newest concourse at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

The grand opening also celebrated Arizona's first airport Chick-fil-A and the arrivals of beloved local brands like Eegee's, Pedal Haus, Berry Divine and Sip Coffee and Beer. The new restaurants are part of a food hall concept billed as The Crystals at Sky Harbor, located in Terminal 4 on the way to the high-numbered D gates in the eighth concourse, occupied by Southwest Airlines.

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, also on hand at the grand opening, said she expects the new restaurants will benefit from growing demand for tourism in Phoenix, as evidenced by the airport's year-to-date traffic increases. Sky Harbor welcomed more than 32 million passengers from January to August 2023, up 10% from the same period in 2022 and 3% from 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gallego thinks the new airport restaurants will inspire people to consider visiting Phoenix in part for its food.

"America's friendliest airport is about to become America's tastiest airport," she said.

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Highlights from new Terminal 4 restaurant menus

During the grand opening celebration, all six new restaurants showcased highlights from their menus:

Sip Coffee and Beer: Locally sourced coffee. The menu also features local beer, sandwiches and empanadas.

Eegee's: Three flavors of their Eegee frozen fruit drinks: strawberry, lemon and pina colada. Eegee's also serves grinder and hoagie sandwiches.

Chick-Fil-A: Chick-n-Minis, which are chicken nuggets on miniature rolls. Chick-Fil-A is best known for their chicken sandwiches, available fried or grilled.

Pedal Haus Brewing: Flatbread pizzas and pretzels with mustard and beer cheese.

Berry Divine: Acai bowls.

Bobby's Burgers: Crunchburgers and vanilla, chocolate and cookies and cream shakes.

What does Bobby Flay recommend Phoenix travelers eat?

Naturally, Bobby Flay, a celebrity chef renowned for his fine restaurants, like Amalfi in Las Vegas (formerly the Mesa Grill) and Food Network shows like "Beat Bobby Flay," suggested travelers eat at his restaurant.

Specifically, he recommended trying his go-to order at Bobby's Burgers: The Bacon Crunchburger, a cheeseburger topped with American cheese, special sauce, potato chips and bacon.

In his brief remarks at the grand opening, Flay told the crowd that some people told him that using potato chips as a burger topping wasn't very original. "People tell me, 'You didn't invent it,'" he said. "And I say, 'I know. But I trademarked it."

Flay went on to say that Phoenix travelers couldn't go wrong with any of the options in the new concourse, playing on the name of one of his popular Food Network shows to make his point.

"You can Beat Bobby Flay, but you can't beat The Crystals at Sky Harbor," he said.

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Gallego praised local small businesses for adding more Arizona-based dining concepts to the terminals' food offerings.

Eegee's began in Tucson, Pedal Haus in Tempe, Berry Divine in Sedona and Sip Coffee and Beer in Scottsdale. Sip integrates multiple Arizona businesses' offerings into its menu, including Native Ground Coffee from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, beer from Mother Road Brewing Company in Flagstaff and treats from Tres Leches Cafe in Phoenix.

They join several other Arizona restaurants with locations at Sky Harbor, including Matt's Big Breakfast, Blanco Tacos and Tequila and Chelsea's Kitchen.

"Even when you step off a plane, you get to have the flavors of Phoenix. Or if you're about to leave our city, the airport is a final reminder of the great food environment you have in the city of Phoenix," Gallego said.

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Reach the reporter at Michael.Salerno@gannett.com. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter: @salerno_phx.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Bobby Flay's 1st Phoenix restaurant opens with 5 others at Sky Harbor